This is the most common type of urinary tract infection in which the infection is confined to the bladder and has not spread to the kidneys or into the blood stream. This is referred to as an uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI). Symptoms typically include discomfort with urination (dysuria), the feeling of needing to urinate even after the bladder has been emptied (urgency), frequently going to the bathroom (frequency), and change in urine color.
Diagnosis is made with a urinalysis and we also usually send a urine culture to make sure the infection will respond to the chosen antibiotics used to treat the infection.
Pyelonephritis is a more serious infection in which bacteria travels from the bladder into the kidneys. This is referred to as a complicated urinary tract infection. Symptoms are similar to cystitis but can also include flank pain, fever, vomiting, and weakness. Spread of bacteria into the blood stream can also occur and can cause life-threatening complication if untreated such as sepsis.
Diagnosis of pyelonephritis is a clinical diagnosis and is supported by the urinalysis. Treatment includes IV antibiotics and hospitalization can sometimes be required for sicker patients.
This is the worst complication of urinary tract infections. Sepsis is a condition in which an overwhelming inflammatory response to an infection causes collapse of the cardiovascular system and failure of multiple organs. Urosepsis is a common killer of elderly patients who often cannot report their symptoms and then become suddenly and unexpectedly ill. However patients of any age can develop this serious complication without treatment.